Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, the rental agreement is the key document by which your relationship is governed. On either side, it’s important to understand what the common provisions are inside these agreements and how they can impact you in the event that a conflict emerges. Here are the most common provisions included in a lease and what they mean.
- Personal basics like the names and addresses of the landlord and tenants. A property manager may also be listed, if applicable.
- The actual details of the rental property, like where it’s located and whether any extras like a parking space, furnishings, or storage areas are also included with the property.
- The actual amount of the rent, including when it is due and how it can be paid. In this portion of the lease, a late fee may also be referenced. Deposits and fees may also be referenced here, like the security deposit and fees related to extras like pets.
- The length of the agreement. The terms of your lease are what determine how long tenants are approved to live in the unit, pending compliance with all other terms in the lease.
- Responsibilities such as sewer, trash, and utilities. Depending on the kind of unit being rented, some or all of these may be covered by the landlord. You’re also likely to have a section involving responsibilities regarding repair and maintenance in addition to any procedures required to make a maintenance request.
- Behavior limits, such as having guests not on the lease stay for long periods of time, or violating any laws while using the property.
- Details about when and under what conditions a landlord can enter the unit itself. In the majority of locations, landlords are allowed to enter to make repairs or in the event of an emergency, but it’s important to ensure that the stipulations in the lease are actually legal.
- Property use restrictions: Landlords may try to add language related to how tenants use the property and who is allowed to stay inside. The landlord can typically set any kind of restrictions here so long as it does not discriminate based on state and federal laws.
- Grounds for termination of the lease, like violations of the terms included inside.
- Preferred methods for handling disputes: Some leases will outline that you need to try mediation or that a party can take legal action in certain situations.
In order for the wording of a lease to be meaningful, it must not violate any existing laws.